Former President Joseph Estrada will run for Manila mayor next year.

MANILA — “I’m done with the presidency in Malacañang. Now, I will be moving to the City Hall of Manila.”

Former President Joseph Estrada confirmed last Wednesday he is running for mayor of Manila in next year’s elections, but only for one term.

Estrada drove his famous “Jeep ni Erap” from 1 Polk Street in North Greenhills, San Juan to his new house at 589 Mangga Avenue in Altura, Sta. Mesa, Manila to ceremonially launch his candidacy.

Former Sen. Loi Ejercito, daughter Jackie and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno joined him.

“I will now sleep here tonight. I will start living here today,” Estrada said.

The 5,000-square meter property with a swimming pool is the ancestral residence of the Legardas in Manila and used to be the headquarters of former President Ramon Magsaysay.

Wearing “Erap para sa Masa” t-shirts and waving placards with the words “Bawal ang dirty sa Maynila,” referring to the Dirty Harry moniker current Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim earned for his controversial anti-crime campaign, Manila residents welcomed Estrada as their new neighbor.

In a press conference at his new house, Estrada said he would be dedicating the last years of his life to Manila.

“I’m now 75 years old. I might still be here for another three years. Then I will give the post to (Vice Mayor) Isko Moreno,” Estrada said.

Me Erap na, Me Isko pa,” he said.

“This is a historical event for myself because it’s here in Sampaloc that I am declaring my candidacy...Title is not important. What is important is that your heart and soul is for public service,” he said.

He also noted that he became a superstar because of the movie “Asyong Salonga,” the story of a notorious Tondo, Manila gang leader, adding that he was born in Tondo.

Estrada said his late father, a civil engineer, also served as head of the public services department under four Manila mayors.

“God has destined that I should be here in Manila, where I should last serve,” he said.

Estrada’s declaration came despite the objection raised by his two politician-sons — Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito.

“My sons said I should rest because I have nothing to prove anymore. But any public service is not a demotion. I will give my remaining days in life here in Manila, to serve the people of Manila. Erap cannot repay his debt of gratitude to the poor Filipinos in life or in death,” he said.

“We have to bring back the old glory of Manila as the country’s capital city. It will not be hard for me to do this with Vice Mayor Isko Moreno at my side,” he said.

Estrada said his decision to run for Manila mayor is not something personal against Mayor Lim.

“There is nothing personal here. He (Lim) served for many years and it was during that time that Manila was left behind. Panahon na, maputi na rin ang buhok niya, magpahinga na muna siya. (It’s time. His hair is already white. He should retire),” Estrada said.

Should he win, Estrada said his priority is to see to it that electricity and water rates will not increase.

He also vowed to improve the peace and order situation in Manila.

“During my stint as San Juan mayor, I first improved the peace and order situation in San Juan which resulted to the influx of investors. Investors are not coming in because they are afraid of kidnappings and carjackings in Metro Manila. We will also run after kotong cops,” he said.

He also promised to “fix” the Manila City Hall, and gave assurance that there will be no delays in the release of employees’ salaries.

Ejercito, meanwhile, said she would fully support her husband in his mayoralty bid.

“He is physically and emotionally healthy and he has the energy. If he wants to run, why not? He can run and if he decides to run, I will support him all the way. I will be campaigning side by side with President Estrada,” she said.

Ejercito joined Estrada in filing his transfer of registration last Thursday.

She said she would also continue her medical missions in Tondo and other depressed areas in Manila.

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